Health Tips From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Veterans Memorial Hospital Dietitians
Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Make 1½ cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.
- Load the top of your pizza with a variety of vegetables. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and zucchini.
- Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with water or milk, and frozen fruit – try strawberries and banana, or mango with pineapple or peach. Toss in a handful of fresh spinach too!
- Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and cheese rolled into a whole-wheat tortilla.
- Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
- Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.
- Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or Mandarin oranges.*
- Keep cut vegetables* handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes. *Short cut: buy a veggie tray already cut up and ready to go.
- Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.
- Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.
- Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with a little sharp cheddar cheese.
- “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings. Add raw or cooked veggies to tacos on whole-grain corn tortillas and whole wheat wraps.
- Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
- Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and a little cheese.
- Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.
- Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, eggplant and carrots to pasta dishes, casseroles, curries, soups, and stews.
- Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
- Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
- Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.
- Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
- Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce
For more information or to make an appointment for a consultation, please call Brandy Strub or Jill Fleming, Dietitians at Veterans Memorial Hospital at 568-3411.